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A wealth of talent at the Games…

A wealth of talent at the Games…

One of the world’s biggest multisport events arrives in the West Midlands and on the BBC this week. We pick the British medal contenders to look out for

By Chris Miller, Writer

Five thousand and fifty-four athletes. Seventy-two countries. Twenty sports. This huge multisport event descends on Birmingham this July – part of the Great British Summer of Sport – and promises to be a glorious celebration of skill, dedication and competition. And it’s all on BBC TV!


This quadrennial tournament has been held since 1930 (when it was called the Empire Games) but is still innovating. This year will see the biggest female and para sport programmes ever – in fact, Birmingham 2022 will be the first major multi-sport event to award more women’s medals than men’s. The para sports and athletes are also entirely integrated with the rest of the Games.


Women’s cricket, beach volleyball and para table tennis are the new events introduced for Birmingham 2022, while others such as judo return after being excluded from Gold Coast 2018. From the grand opening at the newly renovated Alexander Stadium on 28 July to the closing ceremony on 8 August, you can expect a fantastic festival of sport on the BBC.


The four nations of the UK compete separately at these Games, and we’ve picked out some of the athletes and teams we think will be celebrating medals – as well as your guide to what to watch and when.


For many Commonwealth competitors, the Games offer a great chance at glory without many of the global big hitters in their sport present, like the US and major European nations. Not so in the sprints, where Dina Asher-Smith and her colleagues have to compete against Jamaica, Canada, Nigeria and various other nations that make regular appearances in world and Olympic finals.


Still, that just makes the medals all the sweeter when you earn them! Asher-Smith came away from the last Commonwealth Games with a 200m bronze, a relay gold and a burning desire to better her performance at home in 2022. She won the 200m world title in 2019 and equalled her own national record at the recent World Championships – surely multiple golds are on the cards this time.


When is she in action?

100m final, Wednesday 3 August + 200m final, Saturday 6 August + 4x100m relay, Sunday 7 August


There aren’t many sure things in sport, but Hannah Cockroft winning a gold medal at this Commonwealth Games is one. The Yorkshirewoman is the world record holder in 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m T34 racing, she’s picked up seven Paralympic golds and 11 world championship titles over her career, and she’s the hot favourite to win the 100m T34 race in Birmingham. The only question is how far ahead of her rivals she’ll finish.


When is she in action?

100m T34 final, Tuesday 2 August


After missing last year’s Olympics through injury, Melissa Courtney-Bryant will be desperate to regain her form of 2018, where she put in a brilliant performance in the Gold Coast to claim a Commonwealth bronze in the 1,500m. This year she faces a tough field that’s expected to include Scotland’s world bronze medallist Laura Muir, but Courtney-Bryant has proved herself a big-event performer and is Wales’s best bet for a track medal. She may have to decide which of the 1,500m and 5,000m to prioritise, since the finals are on the same day.


When is she in action?

1,500m + 5,000m finals, Sunday 7 August


The epic netball final between England and Australia, which England won at the death by a single point, was a highlight of the 2018 Games and the Roses will be determined to defend their Commonwealth title on home turf. They’ve lost their 2018 captain Serena Guthrie, who’s retired, but brilliant shooters Helen Housby and Jo Harten are still very much part of the squad. Australia and World Cup holders New Zealand are always strong, but England will go into the Games confident of success.


When are they in action?

Group stage begins, Friday 29 July + Final, Sunday 7 August


Max Whitlock may be Britain’s greatest ever gymnast, but Northern Irish fans will be quick to point out that Rhys McClenaghan beat him to Commonwealth pommel horse gold in 2018 – and he also pipped Whitlock to the European title that year too. The first gymnast from Northern Ireland to win a Commonwealth gold medal, McClenaghan will be relishing the renewal of his rivalry with the Englishman, and we wouldn’t be surprised if he triumphed again.


When is he in action?

Pommel horse final, Monday 1 August


Scotland came second to the hosts in the lawn bowls medal table in 2018, with an impressive five medals including two golds – and many of their successful bowlers are back in 2022, including double gold winners Ronnie Duncan and Derek Oliver. The bowls will take place in the genteel surroundings of Victoria Park in Royal Leamington Spa, and without the arduous travelling they faced last time, we expect great things from the Scots.


When are they in action?

Group stage begins, Friday 29 July + Finals, Monday 1 August to Saturday 6 August


Duncan Scott’s phenomenal haul of medals includes six from the Gold Coast in 2018, and if anything he’s got even better since then: the 4x200m freestyle relay in Tokyo, in which the Glaswegian swam the fastest split, was one of the most memorable GB wins at the last Olympics. He missed the world championships with injury issues – but with any luck, that should mean he’s fresh for Birmingham.


When is he in action?

Heats + finals, every day from Saturday 30 July to Wednesday 3 August


British men’s triathlon was dominated for so long by the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny, that it was easy to overlook the up-and-comers – but Alex Yee smashed through in style when he took individual silver and mixed relay gold at the Tokyo Olympics. After coming third in the 2021 World Triathlon Series and winning gold at the World Triathlon Sprint Championships this year, Yee’s in terrific form and without doubt the main English medal hope on the course in Sutton Coldfield.  


When is he in action?

Men’s triathlon, Friday 29 July + Mixed triathlon relay, Sunday 31 July


Your day-by-day guide to the 2022 Commonwealth Games

There is live coverage of the Commonwealth Games every day from Thursday 28 July to Monday 8 August on BBC One HD (CH 101), BBC Two HD (CH 102) and Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer. Here are some of the highlights over the 11 days of the event.


Thursday 28 July

  • Opening ceremony


Friday 29 July

  • Cycling: women’s and men’s team sprint 
  • Swimming: women’s 200m freestyle and men’s 200m breaststroke finals 
  • Gymnastics: men’s team all-around 
  • Triathlon: women’s and men’s triathlon


Saturday 30 July

  • Cycling: women’s individual pursuit and men’s keirin 
  • Swimming: men’s 100m backstroke and women’s 50m breaststroke finals
  • Gymnastics: women’s team all-around 
  • Athletics: women’s and men’s marathon and T54 marathon


Sunday 31 July

  • Cycling: women’s points race and men’s sprint
  • Swimming: women’s 50m freestyle and men’s 100m breaststroke finals
  • Triathlon: women’s and men’s PTVI and mixed relay
  • Rugby sevens: women’s and men’s finals


Monday 1 August

  • Swimming: women’s individual medley and men’s 4x200m freestyle finals
  • Gymnastics: women’s vault and men’s pommel horse 
  • Judo: women’s 48kg and men’s 60kg
  • Lawn bowls: women’s singles and men’s triples finals


Tuesday 2 August

  • Athletics: women’s pole vault, women’s 100m T34 and men’s 100m T47 
  • Swimming: women’s 800m freestyle and men’s 100m butterfly finals
  • 3x3 basketball: finals
  • Gymnastics: women’s balance beam and men’s vault


Wednesday 3 August

  • Athletics: women’s and men’s 100m finals
  • Swimming: women's 4x100m medley relay and men’s 50m freestyle finals
  • Squash: women’s and men’s singles finals
  • Mountain biking: women’s and men’s finals


Thursday 4 August

  • Athletics: men’s 100m T12 final and long jump
  • Road cycling: women’s and men’s time trials
  • Para powerlifting: finals
  • Gymnastics: women’s team all-around rhythmic 


Friday 5 August

  • Athletics: women’s triple jump and men’s 110m hurdles final
  • Diving: women’s 1m springboard and men’s synchronised 10m platform 
  • Wrestling: women’s 68kg and men’s 125kg finals
  • Gymnastics: women’s individual all-around rhythmic 


Saturday 6 August

  • Athletics: women’s and men’s 200m and 4x100m relay finals
  • Lawn bowls: women’s pair and men’s fours finals
  • Table tennis: men’s and women’s C3-5 singles finals
  • Wrestling: women’s 76kg and men’s 97kg finals


Sunday 7 August

  • Athletics: women’s and men’s 400m, women’s 1,500m and men’s 800m finals
  • Road cycling: women’s and men’s races
  • Boxing: finals
  • Hockey: women’s final
  • Netball: final
  • Beach volleyball: finals
  • Cricket: final


Monday 8 August

  • Badminton: women’s and men’s singles and doubles finals
  • Squash: women’s and men’s doubles finals
  • Hockey: men’s final
  • Closing ceremony


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